The Atletico Madrid defender rose highest for Carlos Sanchez’s free-kick to head past Mohamed El Shenawy and break Egypt hearts after a largely sluggish show from the Uruguayans.
Luis Suarez had missed three fine chances and Edinson Cavani hit the post as Egypt looked to have survived without their talisman Mo Salah, who did not feature from the bench due to his shoulder injury.
Uruguay started slowly as Egypt’s defence stayed compact, but Suarez had the first clear chance at the far post after Diego Godin flicked on a corner, scuffing his effort from six yards into the side-netting.
Half-time could not come soon enough for Oscar Tabarez’s side, with Suarez, in particular, looking unlike himself, but he had another fine chance within a minute of the second half to put Uruguay ahead.
After Cavani’s through ball, Suarez did well to get goal-side of Ahmed Hegazi at close range, but goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shenawy spread himself wide enough to deflect wide with an outstretched leg.
Egypt began to retreat and were nearly punished as Cavani set up Suarez again, but the Barcelona forward dwelled on the ball, attempted to round El-Shenawy, before the ball was taken from his feet.
Cavani saw a 20-yard volley from Suarez’s set-up brilliantly saved by El-Shenawy, before his free-kick came crashing off the post, but Uruguay won it as the game headed for injury time.
After Egypt gave away a needless free-kick on the right flank, sub Sanchez found the head of Gimenez, who did superbly to find the far corner with his header.
Cc: Sky sources.